Trump imposes tough new sanctions on Venezuela

It outlined a prohibition on dealings with new stocks and bonds issued by the Venezuelan government or its state-owned oil company and Citgo parent, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSO).

The new sanctions stop short of a full oil embargo but nevertheless constitute a tough measure that will put further pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the Washington Post reports.

The exceptions are designed "to mitigate harm to the American and Venezuelan people", according to the White House statement.

The financial sanctions drew quick rebuke from Venezuela's government, with Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza calling them the worst aggression against the country in two centuries.

The Trump administration on Friday slapped tough new economic sanctions on Venezuela aimed at slowing the South American dictatorship's steady slide into totalitarianism.

"It will bolster his discourse that Venezuela is the target of an economic war", said Smilde.

In a conference call to brief reporters on the measures, the official said the United States has significant influence over Venezuela's economy but does not want to wield it in an irresponsible manner that could further burden the already struggling Venezuelan people.

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A senior Trump administration official, speaking on background, said Maduro was rewarding and enriching corrupt officials within Venezuela's government "by allowing them to ramp up massive debt".

NPR's Scott Horsley reports that the US "says it's prepared to relax sanctions if Venezuela restores democracy".

"The regime's decision to create an illegitimate Constituent Assembly - and most recently to have that body usurp the powers of the democratically elected National Assembly - represents a fundamental break in Venezuela's legitimate constitutional order".

Barring Venezuelan debt purchases could cripple Caracas' ability to raise money to pay off interest on its growing national debt, as the oil-producing country has been doing in the middle of an unprecedented economic collapse. It also prohibits payment of dividends to the Venezuelan government, the White House said.

The first shipment of wheat from Russian Federation will arrive in Venezuela this week, President Nicolas Maduro assured Tuesday.

Earlier this week, Vice-President Mike Pence traveled to Florida to meet with Venezuelan exiles.

The Venezuelan ambassador to Russia Carlos Faria posted earlier on Twitter that the shipment was "a boost for Russian-Venezuelan cooperation".

  • Sonia Alvarado